DAY 6 IN LA: Dream Week Continues With CAA Screening Party

January 31, 2013 in Jim's Journal


"Betty & Coretta" film screening at the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles

Jim Smith, Jr. at the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles

Can you say sweeeeeeeet? That’s the word that best describes Wednesday’s experiences. A runner-up, mini- descriptor would be, “Now, that’s what I’m talking about.” I awoke to fantastic Santa Rosa weather. I had a sensational presentation skills session with 25 Medtronic, Inc. leaders (they’ve invited me back next month to work with a different group of leaders). And to top things off, I had an on-time flight and safe landing back to LA where I re-connected with Marena and rejoined the NAACP week-long party for the Feature Film Night Reception & Screening for the movie “Betty and Coretta.”

I expected the day to go without a hitch because I prayed on it and I stayed on it (mentally). The week seems to be flying by now, just two more days. This has been an experience that will certainly stay with me for the rest of my life.

Reception for the screening of "Betty & Coretta" at the Creative Artists Agency

Feature Film Night Reception for the screening of “Betty & Coretta” at the Creative Artists Agency

And it was another day that I beat my wakeup call – what can I say? I’m just soooo excited. I would blame it on jetlag, but my first answer is my final answer. I worked out, ate breakfast, got dressed and headed to my session. For the most part, my group played full-out, although there were some participants who expressed that they were OK staying in their box (of life). We got into a pretty lengthy discussion on how much you should give of yourself (i.e., how vulnerable and open should you be) when presenting. I cringe and cry inside when I hear people openly arguing for playing it safe. They have no idea how much talent they are wasting and not fully utilizing. That’s why I love Les Brown’s quote, “But is an argument for your limitations and when you argue for your limitations you get to keep them.” So no matter what I said or the “play it big picture I created” to get my debaters off their but, it was to no avail. Maybe I will get them next time, for some people they have to experience the pain to get to the gain. Well, I did get them off their but, for a few minutes, when I did my closing activity – the Soul Train Live Review. This is one of my favorites. Participants form the Soul Train Line, and before heading down the line to get their dance on they have to share their key learning from the session. I always go first. I model what I want them to do and to set the “dance bar” pretty high. As several of the dancers followed me down the line all I could say, in between chuckling, was “really?”

"Betty & Coretta" film screening at the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles

Jim Smith, Jr. with “Betty & Coretta” star, Shinelle Azoroh

The session ended at 5:00 pm and my flight back to LA was at 6:05 pm. I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, Jim, you’re cutting this close.” Initially, I did too, however the extremely small airport was right next door to the hotel where we held the session. I was out the door, into the waiting car, at the airport, checked in, through security and in my chair at the gate checking emails by 5:20 pm. A little over two hours later my plane was landing in LA and I was in a United Taxi heading to the NAACP sponsored moving screening. I called Marena to let her know that I had landed and was on my way, and she said she would save me a seat. By 8:05 pm I had arrived and was in my seat enjoying the movie.

"Betty & Coretta" film screening at the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles

Marena Ariffin with “Betty & Coretta” star Shinelle Azoroh

Marena quietly filled me in on what I had missed:  The reception went from 6:30 to 7:30 pm on the 2nd floor of the Creative Artists Agency on the Avenue of the Stars, where appetizers and wine were served. Immediately following the reception everyone went into the theater on the first floor. Robin Harrison, special events manager for the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, and Leonard James, Chairman of the Image Awards opened the event with a few words of thanks to the sponsors and a brief introduction about the movie. “Betty & Coretta” focuses on the relationship between widows Dr. Betty Shabazz and Coretta Scott King. The actors featured in the movie were Mary J. Blige (Betty), Angela Bassett (Coretta), Ruby Dee, Malik Yoba, Lindsay Owen Pierre, Gloria Reuben, Cherise Booth and Shinelle Azoroh, who was also in attendance (she played the role of Malcolm X’s eldest daughter). Watch the “Betty & Coretta” trailer here.

"Betty & Coretta" film screening at the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles

Jim Smith, Jr. in the Creative Artists Agency’s screening theater

After the movie, and some additional picture taking, we went out to get a little something-something to eat. We caught up on the last two days. I think I’m going to start calling Marena “Hollywood.” She’s doing a wonderful job of navigating her way around LA and she has made a number of great contacts. We’re both eagerly looking forward to what the rest of the week will bring. My publicist Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati will be flying in to LA, from Philadelphia, on Thursday. Vanesse is incredible at what she does. She’s played a huge part in sharing my book (and me) with the world. I often tease her that she put the “D” in Diva. She’s not going to have any problem blending in here.

Next on the “play-sheet” are the Ladies Tea and Fashion Show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the Pre-show Gala Reception at Vibiana’s, both scheduled for Thursday. On Friday we wrap up “dream week” with the nationally televised Awards Show Broadcast at the Shrine Auditorium, and the Post-Show Gala Reception at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles. All I can say is, “Please don’t wake me up…this dream is getting to the best part!”


  • SEE DAY 1: On My Way to the NAACP Image Awards
  • SEE DAY 2: Red Carpet 101 at the Nominees Luncheon
  • SEE DAY 3: A Day of Reflection
  • SEE DAY 4: When You Do What You Love Magical Things Happen
  • SEE DAY 5: Our Best Is Yet To Come!
  • SEE DAY 6: Dream Week Continues With CAA Screening Party
  • SEE DAY 8: My Night At The 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards Show
  • WATCH VIDEO: My personal thank-you note for all of your support and love this week
  • SEE DAY 7: Runways and Red Carpets Amp Up the Excitement
  • MORE PHOTOS: See the Photo Gallery from my Awards Week in LA